It's that time of year again. People are making resolutions and setting goals. Actually, considering it's 2020, I feel like we've thrown goals out the window in favor of celebrating the little things. Which is fine with me, I like celebrating the little things.
But, I'm also a really goal-oriented person and I enjoy having things to work towards. Something about checking things off a list just makes me happy and I want to continue doing that, no matter what each year looks like.
In thinking about the upcoming year, I wanted to divide things into four areas - reading, writing, Bookstagram, and YouTube. Content creation is something I really wanted to work in the coming year, now that I've gotten into a good rhythm with my blog. For a good part of this year, I've tried to figure out how to balance these four goals, and I think I've finally started to get it. Moving into 2021, I want to push myself more in these areas with a set of goals that I think are tiny but achievable.
Each year, I make a few reading goals to push myself toward something different. A lot of the time, it's aimed at getting me into different genres or age groups that I don't explore as often. This year, I decided to keep them simple.
read 40 books
Before 2020 began, I did this whole blog post about reclaiming the Goodreads Reading Challenge, and I think I've done a good job of that. Some time during the second half of the year, I felt good enough about my reading that I upped the goal to 30, which I've also passed with ease.
Going into 2021, I'd like to read 40 books. That's just a little under the number of books I've read this year, so I think it'd be pretty easy to achieve. It's not the highest goal I've ever set, but considering that I've really only gotten back into a steady rhythm of reading this year, I don't want to push myself toward anything outlandish. 40 is a good number and if I happen to exceed that, then it'll be like icing on a cake (which is weird because I'm not actually the biggest fan of icing on cake).
read 10 graphic novels
This year, I surprised myself by getting into graphic novels. I had to read one for Children's Literature when I took the class in my final semester, and it intrigued me enough that I decided to try a few on my own.
What really got me into graphic novels was the Locke & Key series by Joe Hill. I loved those so much while reading them, so why not continue on that path and discover more graphic novels? There are a few that I already have in mind - Nimona, The Last Airbender: The Promise, Ms. Marvel, Heartstopper - and I'd like to get to ask many of them as possible.
One of my favorite things is learning how the art ties into the scripted text. I love noticing little things that add to the overall story, and the fact that it's visually appealing too makes it even more fun to read.
finish a series
There are several series that I'm in the middle of, and I want to finish at least one in 2021. Trust me, even telling myself that I want to finish one can be a tall order. I'm notoriously bad at picking up sequels, so there are plenty for me to choose from. While I have a few ideas of what I'd like to finish, I'm open to anything I end up picking, as long as I'm making progress toward finishing a series.
Most years, my writing goals are wildly unachievable because I don't have the discipline for it. So this year, instead of pushing myself to do things I'm not able to yet, I'm pushing myself to develop the discipline I need in order to do the things I want to do with my writing.
write every month
It's starts with something as simple as this. As of right now, I can't even manage to commit to writing each month outside of NaNoWriMo, so I'm making it a goal to write every month. And if I have to use the NaNoWriMo website to create new "goals" and "projects" each month to achieve that, so be it.
Creating the habit of writing consistently has always been incredibly hard for me. When I'm not competing against myself to hit 50,000 words, I struggle to get any words down. One of the things I'm doing to help motivate myself toward this goal this having a tracking calendar. I've printed a whole year's worth of trackers so I can fill them out each day that I write something. And being the goal-oriented person I am, being able to see something and write numbers in little squares means I'm more likely to actually get writing done.
Eventually, I'd like to be writing on an almost-daily basis. Something really routine so that I can work on my writing as seriously as I would like. And it helps for the future if/when I make it as an author. Being able to write daily and draft quickly will make a huge difference.
try writing prompts
Over my high school and college education, I've had to use writing prompts on several occasions. It's been a mixed result of success. Some have worked so well that they have been revised and turned into future stories. Others have caused me so much frustration that I haven't looked at them again.
But I've seen a lot of other people use writing prompts as warm-ups, exercises, and even ways to push themselves into other genres or to strengthen areas of weakness. It intrigued me to think of prompts that way, and I'd like to try them with a more open mind.
Over several weeks, I've collected random prompts off Reddit and Instagram that could turn into interesting pieces. I'd like to try most of them over the course of the year and see if it changes how I feel about them. Ideally, I'd try a couple of them each month, but we'll see what actually comes of it. Honestly, as long as I give them a fair chance, I think that's good enough.
finish writing project bodyguard
My original goal was to finish writing it this month, but that didn't end up happening. So I'd like to carry that over into 2021.
Right now, I think there are only about another 40,000 words left in the story. It's not much and I know I can get it done. For now, I've created another NaNoWriMo project with the goal of finishing this last part by the end of February. I think it'll help for me to have yet another visual aid to push me toward the final stretch.
Finishing the project will be great for me. While I don't think it's ready for anything bigger yet, I want the accomplishment of it being done. Yes, it's the fun project that I worked on to get back into my love of writing, but having already written so much of it, I want to see it to the end. And I think it'll be good for me to have completed something. With some practice, it'll fuel my writing for the rest of the year.
work on project ghost
Having spent a good portion of 2020 telling myself that I would finish working on Project GHOST, I think I ended up burning myself out from it. So as a change, I'd like to make some progress on this, whatever I can manage. It doesn't have to be the whole thing, even a few chapters is progress enough.
The truth is that I still have a desire to finish this. There are ideas for sequels and I've been working through various chapters in my head. Getting the words on the page is a little harder, but I'm giving myself grace with that.
re-read project ceiling cat
I began a read-through a couple of years ago, some time during the summer between my sophomore and junior year. I think I made it about 1/3 through before stopping for some reason. And I'd like to get back to that re-read.
Seeing as it's the most complete zero draft I've ever written, I don't think I'll have too much trouble getting through it. There are notes I already know I want to make when I'm ready to revise it, and that's honestly why I think it's time for me to re-read the draft. I'm hoping that I've grown enough as a writer that revising this project will be possible in the near future.
Starting a Bookstagram was one of the best decisions I made int 2020. There were three phases to it, but the one that stuck was the last, and I'm glad it did. Going into this, I didn't really have goals in mind. Having gained some experience, I think I can actually set some goals for the new year.
Over the past seven months, I've been really fortunate and grateful that I've grown a following of almost 500 people. It's been wild to see the account grow the way it has, although I have to admit that I don't really understand what makes it grow.
One of the things I would really love to do in 2021 is to grow enough that I'll cross the 1K mark. Yeah, it's a little bit about how nice it is to have that many people following an account, but let's be real, anyone who has been on Instagram knows that having those followers doesn't meant they all like the content you put out. And mostly, it's about connecting with other people who enjoy the same things I do.
figure out hashtags
This one is entirely because I don't understand how they work. For someone who grew up in the generation of social media, I like to think of myself as pretty savvy with this stuff. But Instagram is a butt when it comes to hashtags and algorithms, making it almost impossible to understand how they work.
Maybe it's an unexplainable part of the Instagram algorithm that I can't actually understand, but I'd like to try. It's a complicated thing. Some people say that using more hashtags work better, and others say to use a minimal amount. People have recommended using the popular ones and still others say to stay away from them so your pictures down drown among the masses. I really have no idea and my mixed experiences don't help me much. So if I can even start getting a slight handle on it, I'll be happy with that.
host a giveaway
It feels like a big milestone to host a giveaway, and I'd like to do that at some point in 2021. It'll either be on my 1-year anniversary or when I hit another big number, whichever comes first. I think it'll be nice to encourage other people after everything I've learned on Bookstagram. And I think it'll be fun for me to figure out what I want to give away to other people.
hit 100 likes on a photo
Once again, this one is more for the feeling of crossing a big milestone. I haven't hit 100 likes on a photo yet, and no matter what I say about numbers not mattering, they do matter to me on some level.
The closest I've gotten is being in the 80s, but I'd like to finally break three digits. There's some feeling of satisfaction at getting higher numbers, and I'd like them to be consistent eventually. There's a lot more I could dive into about the way Instagram works with displaying photos or encouraging likes, but I don't want to bore you with that. Crossing the 100 mark will be nice and hopefully it'll stay consistent there.
I unintentionally got back into YouTube earlier this year and found that I enjoyed it a lot more than I remembered. Before anything else, it was the platform I loved the most. I've always been a major fan of the content creators before deciding to become one in 2015. Initial awkwardness aside, I developed a love for it that never quite faded. And getting back into it by accident led to a lot more videos than I planned to produce. But it was fun and I want to continue with that in 2021.
hit 500 subscribers
Unexpectedly, my channel blew up a little after some of my videos gained more views. No idea how the YouTube algorithm really works either, but I'd like to see it eventually help me get to 500 subscribers. Currently, I'm somewhere around the low 200s and climbing.
Hitting 500 is just another step in something I hope to eventually achieve - becoming a YouTube partner. When I get to 500, it's only another 500 before I can apply for partnership, which will allow me to monetize my videos.
Though I don't think I'll ever really be making a ton of money off it, I do want to see more success with this channel as I put time and effort into it. For now, 500 subscribers is a big enough milestone that I can feasibly work toward it and hopefully achieve.
post every week on sat
That's right, I'm giving myself a schedule with this too. I liked having a schedule back during NaNoWriMo, when I knew I would have a video up once a week on a specific date. Having a set day helps me plan out a schedule, film, and edit in advance.
I think it also helps for viewers to have something to look forward to when it comes to content. Having a schedule builds a regular following, which allows me to grow more. And no one complains about consistency with a creator. Choosing Saturday was mostly because I wanted to give people something to look forward to during the weekend, and I know that videos uploaded during the weekdays often get lost in subscriptions or on feeds. It's a strategy that I hope will pay off.
As much as I wish I were the type of person who could create more than one video a week, it's just not sustainable for me at the moment. Perhaps in the future, but for now, I'm sticking to a video every Saturday.
one writing vlog/video a month
One of the things I know is that I want there to be some level of diverse content on my channel. And because I've enjoyed creating writing videos back in November, I want to continue doing that on a monthly basis.
Right now, it'll probably switch up between a writing vlog or something else. Maybe stuff about what I'm working on, tips I've picked up along the way, anything that comes to mind as I brainstorm a new idea each month. But for the people who enjoy knowing about what I'm working on writing wise, this will be a regular source of content for them.
two bookish videos a month
My first passion will always be reading, so I want to acknowledge that with some kind of bookish videos. There's a wide variety of videos I could create within this category, and I know the ideas will continue coming to me as I get comfortable with creating videos.
Right now, I know that I'll occasionally have fun TBR videos, tier ranking videos, and I'm sure I'll even take on a few tags that are still going around. If you go back to all my early videos, you'll see that I was already making a lot of bookish stuff. It's always been fun for me and I think that sticking true to my roots will be good for me.
get more comfortable filming around others
This is the biggest thing for me. Despite all my training in front of the camera as a journalism major who dabbled in broadcast, I have this self-consciousness about filming in front of other who aren't in the broadcast industry.
Thankfully, I have a supportive group around me. My sister doesn't laugh at me for filming, and neither does Jemi. It's still a little weird for me to pull out the camera in front of other people because I never want them to feel like they have to be in my videos if they don't want to. And if you've never talked to a camera by yourself or in front of other people, there's something weird about it.
Seeing as I want to create consistent content, I'd like to eventually be comfortable filming around the people I live with. It makes for more interesting content and more interesting vlogs if I'm somewhere outside of just my bedroom. Which...in hindsight, make that whole sentence sound really weird and kind of inappropriate.
I think it'll be good for me moving forward. I'd like for YouTube to be a regular part of my future career as it allows me another platform to reach an audience as a writer. Being comfortable filming around other people is just another step forward in allowing myself to build this resource of attracting people that I hope will be future readers of my work. And you know, if it makes me some money on the side, I'm not going to say no to that either.
Those are a lot of goals, but I think I've broken them down into manageable chunks that I can work towards. I'm not the kind of person to beat myself up if I don't end up getting all of these checked off. They're things that I'm always working toward and they can change at any time.
Being the kind of person I am, having goals is something good for me. I'd feel lost without something to work toward and besides, I enjoy it. Knowing that social media content will be a big part of my future if I want to make it as an author pushes me to get to know these platforms well and make sure I have the understanding I need when this becomes a bigger part of my career.